I ride my bike 1-2 hours just about every day. What I experience out there on these rides displays both views that can be found on this board. Duncan is a nice town filled with friendly people. Duncan is a hole filled with jerks. I get to choose where I ride and opt for places where the odds are highest to avoid jerks.
I started picking up aluminum cans on these rides because the streets and alleys are full of them. It’s like seeing nickles lying around nobody else wants that replenish every week. As time went on I began finding copper and full computers as well, tossed away like cigarette butts. Along with the extra change, this hobby has rewarded me with meeting some nice people with warm hearts who will help a stranger they think is in need.
The other day, after reading a thread here of a suspicious looking blonde haired man riding a bike through the neighborhood, the concept of how scared some people are was stuck in my head. I avoided the street where the kids are who get yelled at for waving at me, avoided South 9th entirely and pretty much just watched the road, not the scenery this day.
On my way back up 13th heading home I hear someone yell, “Hey mister, you want some more cans?” To my surprise, I was invited into someones yard, met 3 quite friendly people and was gifted with about 15 #s of aluminum cans they had been saving up.
Last week something similar happened. A young man came down the alley to ask the same question. A local business owner had a bucket of cans he wanted to give me and had sent this person to come offer them. When I went back to thank him I learned that he had seen me collecting cans and thought I didn’t have a job or perhaps was homeless and he just wanted to help.
This has happened quite a few times and none of these people knew me or asked for anything in return.
In contrast, I’ve had people sic dogs on me, subtly threaten to tromp my butt and 2 who chased me off like a dog for this despicable hobby of looking for scrap metal. Those 2 wonderful people accepted my money in business exchanges for 7+ years and knew my face well.
Rabbi Haim of Romshishok, Lithuania told this story to his congregation:
“I wanted to know the difference between Heaven and Hell so I decided to visit them both.
I first went to Hell. There I found people sitting at long tables filled with sumptuous food, but they were all emaciated and starving. They had spoons that were 6 feet long and could not bend their arms in such a way to feed themselves.
I then went to Heaven and saw a slightly different situation. The people there were also sitting around long tables piled with food. They too had 6 feet long spoons, but they were all well nourished and happy because they were feeding each other across the table.
I then understood. Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference is in the way people treat each other.”
(Adapted from the parable called “The Allegory of the Long Spoons.”)